This just in: Americans don’t trust the mainstream media.
What is news is that what little trust still exists has been declining, and for good reason. “For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from [the 21st annual Edelman Trust Barometer],” Axios reports. “Trust in social media has hit an all-time low of 27%.”
Some of the questions in the survey are especially revealing. “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.” Fifty-six percent said yes. “Most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.” Fifty-eight percent agreed. Frankly, it’s shocking that 100% of Americans don’t see through the media’s facade.
To be sure, most conservative news sources have a clear bias. The big difference between these sources and Leftmedia outlets is that conservatives acknowledge this bias.
The mainstream media has nearly always favored more liberal causes and candidates. What’s new in the last few years, however, is the extent of the sheer advocacy and activism in so-called journalism.
Leftmedia and social media behemoths not only continue to insist they are objective but established “fact-checkers” to “discredit,” suppress, and silence anyone who disagrees. As we have so often argued, the “fact-checkers” are not, in fact, checking facts, but expressing and/or rebutting opinions. That they don’t own up to this glaringly obvious reality is why people don’t trust them.
Media columnist Margaret Sullivan opines, “Our goal should go beyond merely putting truthful information in front of the public. We should also do our best to make sure it’s widely accepted.” Yet Sullivan works for The Washington Post, which we certainly would never accuse of putting truthful information in front of the public. Quite the contrary. Since 2015, the Post’s mission has been to attack Donald Trump no matter what. One month after Trump’s inauguration, the paper even went so far as to adopt, for the first time in its history, a motto — the ridiculously pompous “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
(That same Washington Post now says it won’t maintain the same lie tracker for Joe Biden that it did for Trump.)
In August 2016, before Trump was even elected, The New York Times’s Jim Rutenberg explained why the media shouldn’t be objective. “If you view a Trump presidency as something that is potentially dangerous,” he wrote, “then your reporting is going to reflect that.”
Memo to Sullivan, Rutenberg, and your cohorts: In order to make sure your reporting is widely accepted, you might try setting aside the agenda and actually putting truthful information in front of the public. Frankly, there are some outlets on the Right that should heed this advice too, though they have but a fraction of the influence of major media and only have an audience because of the aforementioned distrust.
The objective of the press should be to report the who, what, when, and where. If reporters could stick to this simple plan, they might be surprised to find that more Americans begin to trust what they’re reading and hearing again. Until then, Donald Trump was and will continue to be right to call the Leftmedia “the true enemy of the people.”